For if you will take the trouble to test it, you will find that when all other things and activities have been forgotten (even your own) there still remains between you and God the stark awareness of your own existence. And this awareness too, must go, before you experience contemplation in its perfection.
You will ask me how to destroy this stark awareness of your own existence. For you are thinking that if it were destroyed all other difficulties would vanish. And you would be right. All the same, my answer must be that without God’s very special and freely given grace, and your own complete and willing readiness to receive it, this stark awareness of yourself cannot possibly be destroyed. And this readiness begins with nothing else than a strong, deep sorrow of spirit.
Cloud of Unknowing